What Happened to Hamza bin Laden?

The Telegraph (UK) is reporting that Osama bin Laden's son, Hamza bin Laden, may have escaped from the compound during the raid at Abbottabad. ABC News reports Hamza is unaccounted for. (More on the Hamza confusion here and here.)

Hamza, who reportedly was living at the compound, along with his mother who is in Pakistani custody, has not been accounted for. Some say he was removed by the commandos along with Osama bin Laden -- with conflicting reports on whether he was dead or alive when captured. [More...]

How likely is it that he escaped? Not very, in my opinion. Does the U.S. have him? Is he dead or alive?

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik tells CNN the U.S. will get access to bin Laden's wives. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said dialogues on that are still ongoing.

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  • Display: Sort:
    based on news reports (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by CoralGables on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:54:00 PM EST
    he's either dead or alive, and was either captured, escaped, or wasn't there. I think that just about covers it. That's some fine reporting.

    thanks for (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 10, 2011 at 06:48:07 PM EST
    saying it so succinctly. The reporting we are getting is so disparate we don't know anything. It's either the result of people who are not in the know speaking out of school to the media, or a deliberate misinformation campaign, or a miscalculation by the Administration as to the depth to which its statements and versions would be scrutinized.

    I'm also really disappointed with the lag time of the U.S. media in reporting. Everything they report appears at least a day earlier in overseas publications.

    The media is also doing a lousy job of connecting the dots.


    It would not surprise me to learn that (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:49:43 AM EST
    the lag time in the US media is the result of their "cooperation" with the government: getting the government's okay before going to air or press; it wouldn't be the first time we've seen the media acting more as an arm of the government than as a challenger to it.

    I find myself looking to the foreign press more and more - and not just on this issue - and find it increasingly disturbing how much the US media simply fail to tell us; it can't be that the foreign media have better sources or methods - which means the omissions/spin are deliberate.  

    And the question is, why?  Why wouldn't they want us to be fully informed?  The only answer I can come up with is that it is the result of the way-too-cozy-boredering-on-incestuous relationship between the media and the government.

    Really not a good sign.


    True (none / 0) (#10)
    by mmc9431 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:43:02 AM EST
    We can take solace in the fact that they're working together for our own good! (snark) It's amazing what you can hide under the umbrella of national security.

    The continued consolidation of the media will make it even easier for them to "work" together to control the message.


    The SEALs say Hamza was the young (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:33:44 AM EST
    man who was killed at the compound.  I believe them and this administration over anyone else.  And maybe the Bush administration would take a son and lie about it thinking that they could squeeze his mother who knows precious little of value to them due to her culture, but the Obama administration doesn't run things that way.  I read that Hamza is 18 now, no longer a little boy, and one of the three men in the photos appeared to be of that age.

    Then where is Khalid (none / 0) (#12)
    by star on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:23:23 AM EST
    If Hamza was killed then Khalid is unaccounted for.

    Khalid is dead (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:26:43 AM EST
    His body was recovered according to both the U.S. and Pakistan.

    Was replying to MT (none / 0) (#16)
    by star on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:29:30 AM EST
    Who said one of the pictures looked like it was of Hamza .



    the adminstration says (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:25:26 AM EST
    Khalid was killed, not Hamza. The transcript of Brennan is here. Carney later said there was a tape transcription error and Khalid was killed, as Brennan said initially.

    White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told reporters Monday that bin Laden's son Khalid was killed in the raid. When the White House released a transcript of Brennan's briefing, it substituted the name of a different son, Hamza. The White House said that was a transcription error.

    Hamza was born in 1991, Khalid was born in 1989. Hamza is 20, Khalid 22.

    I don't think Hamza looks like any of those in the photos of the dead.

    He's either dead, captured or he somehow got away and is on the run. If he was captured for interrogation, I doubt they'd tell us.


    Escaped! (none / 0) (#18)
    by star on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:36:33 AM EST
    it is very difficult to buy that story ..coming out  now almost a week after the raid. So far there was not a word on anyone having escaped.
    Hamza is a vital intelligence source by himself. why would US not try to get most out of HIM about AQ plans..there is no need to squeeze mom or anyone else if they have him. This young man seems to be  involved in his fathers activities. In fact a grown son will know and be included in decisions way more than a lady in a muslim household.
    If Seals got him alive, that is really vital and good.

    Why not? (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:55:38 AM EST
    Why wouldn't they tell us?  He's 20, right?

    I thought Khalid was killed in a drone attack (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:33:05 PM EST
    before the strike on the compound

    Saad (none / 0) (#25)
    by star on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:17:09 PM EST
    No that is another son Saad. They are not sure if he was indeed killed. Also a daughter is doubted to have been killed in drone attack. apparently her children were in the compound.
    Khalid and Hamzaa both were in the compound with OBL. only one son is accounted for.

    Only Pakistan says that both boys (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:35:56 PM EST
    were in the compound.  Sorry, but as I have said before I only believe every third thing out of Pakistan's mouth.  We were not certain that we had killed Khalid because we did not ID the bodies.  But our intel indicated that we had killed him and I'm going with that until I get some real proof, and I believe almost nothing that Pakistan has to say about any of this other than Osama bin Laden seems to have been killed.

    Asking Questions (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by star on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:24:10 AM EST
    The way distorted information is coming out I am not sure what to believe any more. I refuse to blindly believe simple because it is Dem president instead of a republican. As engaged citizens we should be asking questions of ANY elected official and are entitled to truthful answers.

    We are being sold short by both WH and more importantly a media which is both incompetent and corrupt.


    I wonder (none / 0) (#17)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:34:06 AM EST
    if there are security concerns with releasing all of these details.

    If so, I am fine with a little smoke screen so long as we eventually know the truth.  I am sure that information will trickle out slowly for years.

    I don't understand the need for instant information given that they are even now trying to figure out how to use their intel and interrogate the people captured. I am fairly sure that if Pakistan knows the location of the son, they are using the lack of knowledge as leverage in some way to gain intel.


    Paved with good intentions (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by mmc9431 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:59:07 AM EST
    We've just gone through eight years of that kind of thinking. Major erosion of our basic civil liberties. All in the name of security. The powers that be have determined that the founding father's didn't know what they were doing. They felt that they knew what was best for us ignorant peasants.

    I had hoped that those days were behind us. The problem is that each future administration will use the Bush era as the starting point of privilege. Civil liberties and our very national values will continue to  disappear with the best of intentions.

    When you lie and continue to rewrite the storyline, no one believes you. If we're going to be underhanded and sneaky, we really need to learn to do a better job at it.

    If I had been as bad at lying as these people seem to be, I wouldn't have survived my teen years! My parents surely would have killed me before then.

    well (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:03:10 PM EST
    I'm sure if they have him alive, they aren't going to tell anybody.

    Terrific headline. Good looking kid. (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:12:51 PM EST

    Wouldn't the son's name be (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:06:42 PM EST
    Hamza bin Usama (or "ibn Usama")?  I thought "bin"/"ibn" meant "son of."

    Seems like that would be the case but (none / 0) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:00:42 AM EST
    Osama's son Omar refers to himself as Omar bin Laden in a statement he just released. link

    The scuttlebut I heard was (none / 0) (#6)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:10:07 AM EST
    if the US military did retrieve him from that compound along with his father's body, he would be useful later in convincing his mother to give out useful information.

    Now that is just scuttlebutt among some guys I know.

    I don't understand (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:58:17 AM EST
    If they wanted so badly to "squeeze his mother," why would they take the son and not the mother herself?  Makes no sense to me.

    more likely (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:56:52 AM EST
    but who knows if it's true - they wanted to squeeze the son.  He was 20, could have been involved in who knows what.

    Not buying the cover-up theory (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:53:06 AM EST
    There's nothing in U.S. behavior that would lead me to think they'd ever think they needed to resort to subterfuge to cover up that they grabbed the son of Mr. Terrorism to interrogate him.  They'd do it right up front and issue a press release about it, IMO.

    Ahh my friend gyrfalcon, think a bit. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:59:55 PM EST
    The Seals were under orders not to kill women or children unless absolutely necessary this being of course a political (PR) restraint.

    Likewise they would be restrained from taking women and children from the compound.  That might be even worse PR than killing them.

    The son is 20 and fair game.  

    If (the operative word here is "if") they took the son, they can work on him as usual, and though they couldn't take the mother, they now have leverage on her.  What will a mother do for a son, what will she tell about a husband that is now dead.  Her knowledge goes back beyond 911, way back.

    It was a masterful stroke.